Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Caseros in black and white

For just one more month we are living Avenida Caseros, which has been called the most beautiful block in Buenos Aires. It's close to the pretty sketchy area of Constitution, but also right next to Parque Lezama, which is probably my favourite park in Buenos Aires. Landscaped in the 19th century by a Belgian designer, Charles Veerecke, it was later updated by Carlos Thays, who added the gazebo, pergola and the beautiful esplanade. The rosewood and jacaranda trees are so beautiful and at any time of the day locals are sitting drinking mate, walking their dogs, playing chess and truco.

The building we look out onto, with Henry and Silvie's terrace top middle, painted by A-L Felstead

Avenida Caseros is a tree-lined boulevard, officially San Telmo on one side and Barracas on the other, and unique because of the 'edificio de los Ingleses', a building which stretches the length of the entire block, built for the English management of the railways in the early 20th century. The wide pavement now have tables where you can sit and eat or drink outside Caseros, Hierbabuena and Club Social restaurants. It's a very special place to live.

Our flat looks out onto a particularly beautiful building with a fabulous terrace garden on the rooftop. We've admired that roof garden for two years, so how exciting that our friends Henry and Silvie now own at least half of it! They recently bought one of the top flats (the other is for sale through Leticia Firpo), what a dream property! This stunning photo of Silvie was taken on the window seat in the kitchen, which opens onto their terrace.

To order prints of the painting by A-L Felstead, go to 

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Mataderos, almost

I'm missing my buddy Heather. We arrived in Buenos Aires almost at the same time, in December 2004, and ever since we met at the home of our lovely friend Jennifer Webster, we've been great friends. For two years we shared a work space in a beautiful PH on Ravignani and Honduras in Palermo Hollywood, Heather working in the wine industry and me in property. Almost a year ago we were in India together, and then for a couple of months we were back in BA together. Heather felt part of our family here in Argentina, and Ollie and I and the boys miss her, now that she's moved back to LA.

On Heather last Sunday in BA we made the long trek out to Mataderos, to visit the folkloric, country fair. It was one of the hottest days of the year and we all sat sweating on the number 55 bus as it wound through every back street before dropping us a couple of blocks away. It seemed pretty quiet as we walked to the main square....where there was nothing. It was totally deserted. We'd turned up on the wrong day (it's on Saturday evenings during January). It was pretty typical of Heather and me, but none of us really cared. We had a drink and headed back to the city. It didn't matter one bit, we were all just happy to be together, and sit in a tatty parrilla on the square, and Sethie and Bo soaked up every last minute with Heather, dragging her around the square, and begging her to throw them up in the air.

Go, Bo, Go!

Our friend Jennifer Webster bought the classic childrens book, Go, Dogs, Go! by P.D.Eastman for Seth for his 1st birthday. It has been around the world with us and both boys are huge fans. Here's Bo reading it in bed with his mismatched striped orange pyjamas, sort of matching the book jacket.

Dressed up, dressed down

Like my Dad, I love cheerful flowers (his exception being his favourite, the melancholy snowdrop). Geraniums are one of the easiest of plants to keep alive, and with their bright colours and low maintenance, we've filled our balconies with them. 

Here's Bo sitting out on the boys' balcony yesterday, wearing socks for the first time he can remember, having been in the sweltering heat of India and Argentine summer for the last year. He was very excited to be wearing boots like Paddington Bear.

Thankfully the rain has stopped and the clouds cleared, and we're back to sun and blue skies in BA.....and the boys are back to how they are happiest - naked!

Life is so simple at two

It's great when you're two. You don't have a career or mortgage payments to keep up awake at night. You don't really even need to think about tomorrow, you just have to put your head on the pillow and sleep. Or in the case of Seth and Bo, your head on anything solid. In just the last week I have found them at different times fast asleep on a book, on a table, on the wooden floor underneath the sofa, on the cold kitchen floor, and standing on the floor beside their bed, head just resting on the edge. As a sporadic insomniac, I envy them.

Whistle for work

I love the sounds we hear at home in Buenos Aires. It's hot, and our windows are always flung open. In our house in Villa Crespo we wake up on Sundays and can tell from the still quiet of the air, broken only by the newspaper vendor calling out 'Diario!'. In my old studio in Palermo Hollywood, I could hear families on either side arguing and clattering their pans as they prepared lunch, and here in Barracas we hear tango, and murga at the weekend, cheers from the Bombonera football stadium, and yet more families cheerfully bickering over mealtimes. Now and then we hear a distinctive whistle from a plastic flute, played by knife sharpeners on bicycles, signalling their presence out on the street. Last week Gustavo, pictured below, was on Caseros. His grandfather started knife sharpening over fifty years ago, and his father and two siblings also pedal the streets of Buenos Aires.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Imps go out to play

Ugh, today I spoke to Jardin de la Plaza, the nursery where Seth and Bo were so happy last term, and (understandably) they won't accept kids for a month only. We're heading back to England for a while, so we're now into our last weeks. The summer holiday end here on Friday and our flight out is on March 28, so I now have a month with two imps and a to do list as long as my arm. So, I'm signing them up for these classes, all of which I highly recommend to parents of young kids in Buenos Aires.

Seth and his friend Paulina with Paz before we left for India

Jardin Rodante with Paz Castro Corbat
A two hour packed programme at home with music, dance, puppets, art and crafts, ball games, puzzles, stories. 24 pesos per hour.

Beth's literary club
A one hour, weekly class at the Palermo home of Beth, a former teacher at Lincoln School. Each class is based around a particular with activities, songs and a story time. Cost 35 pesos per class. 

Bella's art club
A very creative art club at the home of Bella, near Plaza Serrano in Palermo Soho. See her fantastic blog for a good feel for the scope of the classes (and for great ideas of projects to do at home). 50 pesos per session. 

Swimming classes & Minis in Action at Club de Amigos
Various classes and groups for 2-5 year olds. Classes around 330 pesos per month for weekly classes.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

A moment of peace

Thanks to Helen Morgan for these photos of Seth and Bo, taken at Garden Buenos Aires.